25% percent capacity for indoor dining remains until March 29th.
This weekend, indoor dining restrictions, like the 25% percent capacity and 10 p.m. curfew, were set to expire. Instead, they will now last through until March 29th, according to a quiet press release from The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The press release, published on February 4th, announced that contact sports could resume, provided they follow regulations like wearing masks if they can, and regularly getting tested if they cannot. The rules for indoor dining fell under the new “masks and gatherings regulation” policy.
Keep masking up, keep physically distancing, and keep avoiding gatherings outside of your household. As trends improve, we will continue to look for ways to return to the activities we love safely. #MaskUpMichigan pic.twitter.com/HkBO7OGpPt
— Elizabeth Hertel (@MDHHS_Director) February 8, 2021
A lot of restaurant owners were kept in the dark about this. Usually, Governor Gretchen Whitmer publicly states updates on the hospitality industry in statements. As owners waited for new information, like a possible 50% capacity announcement, many were unaware the decision to keep capacity at 25% had already been set on the 4th.
MDHHS updated its current epidemic order to allow contact sports to resume as of Monday, Feb. 8, provided masks are worn during practices and competition. For more information, visit https://t.co/vPlT1O6r03. pic.twitter.com/PzulfhQ6D5
— Michigan HHS Dept (@MichiganHHS) February 4, 2021
The hospitality industry has been struggling for the past year, and especially so when indoor dining was prohibited from November 18th to February 1st. The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association released proposed a re-integration plan for the hospitality industry that offers “a clear, metric-data solution.” The two-part plan first includes a schedule for re-integrating restaurants and event-spaces that aligns with the “Daily Positive Test Rate” reported by the MDHHS. The second step would be to expedite vaccines for hospitality workers, including them in the tier of “other essential frontline workers.” You can read the full proposal here.
Today, the MRLA released a two-pronged, metric-driven roadmap to eventually restore normal operations within the hospitality industry.
— MI Restaurant & Lodging Assoc. (@TheOfficialMRLA) February 17, 2021
As “3,000 restaurants have permanently closed, 200,000 jobs have been lost, and more than half hotels remain at risk of foreclosure in 2021” restaurant owners and workers are feeling a real sense of frustration and hopelessness. Hopefully, as the proposal states, once positives are low, at <3%, then restaurants can operate at 100% capacity, using the 7-day average as a metric. All of this remains to be seen, and is ultimately up to the data and strategy that the MDHHS implements.
[featured image by Toa Heftiba via Unsplash]